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CUTwC drinking games

Please note that most of these rules are from the author's memory, and even ignoring the whim of finesmasters may be inaccurate. If any deviation from common practice is noted, please let me know.

While the primary game of the members of C.U.Tw.C. is, of course, the noble sport of tiddlywinks, these versatile souls partake of a number of other games, often based around the concept of imbibing some of a beverage as a fine. Hence, these activities are popular in the bar after meetings, and towards the less hectic end of pub crawls.

For the purposes of these pages, the masculine pronoun is used to refer to the player of a drinking game. This is for brevity and to avoid unnecessarily broken grammar; it is in no way an indication that any of these games are gender-specific - some of our finest drinkers are female.

Before we go on to a detailed description of the games, the fining system should be slightly clarified. The fines assume that the finee is drinking a pint of beer; some conversion is usually agreed for anyone suicidal enough to play a drinking game on spirits. The basic unit of fining is the finger - there are eight fingers in a pint. If someone tells you to "drink a fine", they probably mean a finger. Naturally, this amount roughly equates to lowering the level of the drink by the width of a finger. Games with high fines are often played with pencils, where a pencil is half a finger, or even a waffer (half a pencil); this decision is often made after playing the game on fingers and regretting it, other than being able to say "I remember when we played this on fingers". Some games require some multiple of this basic quantity to be drunk. It is encouraged to drink one's fine before resuming participation in the game. While a player might be able to negotiate the substance and quantity being consumed (sips of whisky, "fizzy shite", some scaling to allow for body mass, tea...) the games do rely on actions having consequences: a player who can cause others to incur a multi-pint fine at no personal risk will break the game mechanics.

Someone who is seated at the table but not included in a game, for example because he still has to drink his fine, is referred to as "whitebait" (as in a particularly puny fish), and should not be dealt into a card game, and cannot be considered as present in other games. It is traditional to indicate that one is "whitebait" by placing the back of one's hand on one's forehead, with optional finger wiggling to emulate a sea anemone. Note that we do not wish to cause medical harm to winkers: there is no shame in being whitebait beyond being excluded from play (and some kudos in having played aggressively or unluckily and ending up with a fine that you cannot trivially drink).

Card games

CUTwC makes substantial use of cards as a way to punish the liver. Many of these games are obviously derived from less painful versions that will only lose you money. Note that people have different priorities under these circumstances, and it is not unusual for the tactics required to make everyone else drink heavily to be different from the tactics required to minimise your own fine (or loss of money).

For most of these games the deal and order of play is traditionally clockwise as seen from above, although that's not compulsory. A dealer who makes an error in dealing (dropping a card on the floor, accidentally dealing a card face up, accidentally skipping a player, including cards that should have been removed from the deck, shuffling cards inappropriately or putting discarded cards on the top of the deck rather than the bottom) has to drink a fine. A player who "revokes" and breaks the hand by playing illegally must drink a large fine. The same applies to cheating in any other way (a classic example being Tim Hunt, who pointed out that a player adjacent to him had revoked by playing illegally — something Tim knew only because he was looking at the other player's unplayed cards).

Yogi's Whist

For a small number of players (4-8)

Yogi's Whist is closely based on normal whist, and is played with a full deck, with a single joker. Four cards are dealt to each player, and the top card of the remaining deck is turned up, the suit of which indicates the trump suit. Having looked at their cards, each player will choose one of the cards he has been dealt to place on the table in front of himself. This card is the player's bid, and its suit indicates the number of tricks that the player hopes to win. A diamond equates to zero, a spade to one, a heart to two, and a club to three (think of it as the number of blobs on the suit indicator). This order is also relevant in a number of other card games, and will often be called "Yogi's Whist order".

When all the players have placed a bid card on the table, each player, in the order to which they were dealt, has the opportunity to "declare", "reveal", or indicate that they wish to do neither by saying "no". If a previous player has indicated an intention to declare, the remaining players may either say "no" (and thus let the declaring player do so), or reveal. If a player indicates that he will reveal, no further players are queried.

We will come back to declaring and revealing shortly, and for now assume that all the players have said "no", in which case the players play in the order to which they were dealt. The first player will lead a card, and (as with normal whist) each following player, in turn, must place another card of the same suit on it if the player has one. If not, a card must be thrown away (on top of the played cards). If, unable to play a card of the suit led, a player plays a card of the suit of the card turned up, he will have "trumped" the trick.

Once all the players have played a card, the winner of a trick is the player of the highest card of the trump suit which has been played, if any, or failing that the player of the highest card which has been played (aces high) of the suit of the lead card. A joker counts as the turn-up card, both in play and when bidding. The winning player collects the pile of played cards and places it in front of him (to allow the other players to keep track of the number of tricks each player has won). The winning player gets to lead the next trick.

Once all three tricks have been played, those players who have "made" their bid (i.e. won the number of tricks that their bid card predicted) will place their bid cards on their foreheads, showing the value of the card, to allow fines to be calculated. Normally a finesmaster will be keeping track. Those players who have not made their bid will drink one fine (Yogi's is normally played with pencil fines) for each player who has made their bid, plus one. i.e. if five people are playing and two make their bids, the remaining players must drink a fine of three (pencils) each. The deal then revolves one player to the left.

Now for the bit that makes the game interesting: declaring and revealing. If a player chooses to declare (and no other player stops him by revealing), then after the first card is led the declaring player turns over his bid card so that the other players can see it. If a player has declared and makes his bid, two of the fining unit are added to the fines of all the other players (e.g. if one of the players who made in the above example declared, the other player who made would drink two pencils and the others five). If a player has declared and fails to make his bid, that player has four fining units added to his fine. Hence a player is wise to declare only if confident he can make his bid.

Revealing is a similar, but more extreme, concept. The revealing player turns over his bid card at the time he reveals (before a leading card is played), and can then choose which player will lead (he may choose to lead himself). After the first card has been played to lead the first hand, the player who has revealed must expose his remaining cards so that the other players can see them. Hence the other players can see any weaknesses in his hand and play to exploit them, if they can. If a revealing player makes his bid, all the other players have four fining units added to their fines; if he fails then he adds eight fining units to his fine.

Note that it's only making one's bid that matters, not actually winning tricks. Therefore the 2,3,4 and 5 of diamonds is a very strong hand (at least unless diamonds are trumps), and worth revealing on. On the other hand, unless clubs are trumps, the 2,3,4 and 5 of clubs is a very bad hand.

The last detail is that if, and only if, the card turned up as the trump card is a nine, then the nines form a suit of their own (with increasing value in the same order as the bid cards). A club and three nines if a nine is a trump card is therefore a very strong suit. Note that nines used as bid cards count as their normal suit. A joker as the turn-up card also makes nines the current suit. It's traditional not to remind people about nines until after the event.

Yogi's Whist was presented to the Club at a weekly Formal Hall by Nick Inglis on the 19th of May 1986, as a derivative of the three-player (mostly) trick-taking game Ninety Nine - not to be confused with the Ninety Nine that's the origin of Glengariff 99. Nick also introduced the pencil as a fining unit at the same time, despite Stew's protestations that this would "not involve enough drinking" (an objection that was shortly retracted). A blind, deaf bear at Knaresborough Zoo was dying with much media fuss at the time and the game was named in his honour. On anniversaries of the invention of the game, scores are traditionally kept for the evening's play (in addition, obviously, to fine drinking).

A variant of Yogi's, known (due to its appellation by Stew) as "Bloody Fucking Thing", gives the dealer the choice of the number of cards to deal to each player (though it has to be the same number to each). Bids are made in clockwise order from the dealer, and the player bidding must say the number of cards bid, normally in terms of the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas. Once players have no (unbidden) cards left to play, they are excluded from subsequent turns.

A rare variation is SEPTIC Yogi's, in which SEPTIC members get to vote whether to rotate everyone's bid cards one place clockwise.

Killer Whist

Killer whist is another tedious whist variant, without the bidding of Yogi's. The trump suit in the first round is random, after which the winner of the previous round gets to choose trumps (with ties decide by cut-off). Deal rotates each round, and the first hand of each round is won by the player to the left of the dealer. The winner of each hand (the player with the highest trump suit card, or failing that the card with the highest rank of the suit that was led) takes the trick, and leads the next hand.

After each round, players who have won no tricks are eliminated. In the first round, seven cards are dealt to each player; for each subsequent round, the number of cards dealt is reduced by one. The fine is one finger for each card dealt to the players in the round in which they went out.

Mass murder whist is similar, except that players are not excluded from the next round when they lose.


A game for a small number of players (4-8)

Tøppen (I'll call it that for now, since there is some debate over the actual spelling) is played either with cards specific to it, or with a shortened deck. It's most distinguishing feature is the card value order with a normal deck: starting at the top the order is 10, 9, 8, 7, ace, king, queen, jack, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Normally eight cards more than the number required by the players are in the pack that is dealt (the non-dealt cards being called the drip sac), and the other cards are put aside; there are no jokers. If many players are participating, a drip sac of 4 may be used (it has been suggested that the drip sac should be reduced to four before sixes are introduced into play).

The aim of tøppen is to win the last hand. Each player is dealt four cards, two at a time. At this point, if a player feels that he has no chance of winning, he may fold ab initio by placing his cards face down on the table, and drink a single fine.

The player first dealt to then leads a card, played immediately in front of him. The remaining players, in order, must then follow suit, and also play their cards in front of themselves. The player who has played the highest valued card of the led suit (according to the card value order mentioned above) gets to lead the next hand.

Whenever a player is going to play, he may choose to "knock" (by rapping his knuckles on the table). The other players are then each given an opportunity to fold (in which case their remaining cards are placed face down on the table and a fine is imbibed), or to indicate that they wish to stay in by saying "pah". The "current" fine is then increased by one. Low numbered cards are often used as a die to keep count of the current fine; a player going out due to folding or losing the final hand is then required to drink the number of fining units shown on the die. Note that the die starts at one - folding on the first knock and folding ab initio are equivalent. Note that if all but the knocking player fold, the knocking player wins and does not have to show any unplayed cards. Hence knocking is both a means of increasing the fine for your opponents (assuming you win - you drink more if you lose) and a means of bluffing.

If a player knocks more than once with no other player knocking in between, the potential fine for that player (only) is doubled, in addition to a normal increment. You can't knock twice without playing in between. Hence if a player is the only player to have knocked, and knocks twice, the fine is three for everyone else, but six for that player. Further knocks not interrupted by a knock from someone else produce further doubling - a third knock would give a fine of four for everyone else, and sixteen (a pint, assuming pencil fines) for the knocker. Note that if there are eight players, all of whom knock (so the fine is nine), the last player knocks every hand, wins the second from last hand (and so goes first in the last hand), and all the other players choose to knock again, then if no-one folds the player who multiple-knocked has a potential (8+4+7)x8 = 8.5 pint fine (on pencils) if he loses. Even less extreme circumstances can produce very high fines, and a six pint fine has I believe been seen in reality. Two pint fines are relatively common.

As a historical note, tøppen is traditionally played on finger fines (and was started on finger fines), but general practice involves pencil fines.

Given that, a word of warning for the frisky: while there are unbeatable hands, bear in mind that if you're not leading, many good cards may not be played. For example, if you have the tens of diamonds, spades and hearts and the nine of clubs, someone with the ten of clubs can win the first hand. If he then wins with the seven of clubs (you throw away, arbitrarily, the spade), the seven of spades (you throw away the heart) and the seven of hearts (your last card is a diamond) then it can all go horribly wrong. That said, knocking when you're not leading is not necessarily something done at risk if you see your opponents failing to follow a suit, and knocking as a bluff in the last hand can be particularly effective. Note that a very low last card can win if no-one else can follow suit.

After a hand has been played, the deal passes to the winning player.


Ed Wynn introduced Conjectures in Winking World 68. Here follows a transcription of his account (by permission of Ed).

Edward Wynn describes Conjectures

Conjectures is a new drinking game.

The game hase been found to work well for groups of around eight players. In an initial burst of enthusiasm, it has been played by groups of a dozen or more. It probably wouldn't work so well for small groups. The game is intended for the Famous Winkers Cards, but until they arrive (and they are like the days of the Son of Man, "the time will come when you will long to see one..., but they will not come") normal playing cards will do.

The cards are in a strict order of superiority: all Aces are higher than all Kings, and so on, and the suits are in the order of bids in Yogi's Whist: Clubs are higher than Hearts, Spades and Diamonds, in that order. For a typical group, a standard 52-card pack is shortened by removing all cards lower than a Six - the intention being that the chance of at least one Ace (for example) being held is fairly high but not very high. Different numbers of cards are necessary only for extreme numbers of players.

The terminology of the game has a sexual theme, hence the name "Conjectures" (as in Liz Baggage - verb. sop.).

Each player is dealt one card face down, and may immediately look at its face. In a typical game, there will be several rounds of so-called Exposure, of which each player can join only one. The basic aim of the game is to win the round that you join.

The player who has the highest Exposed card in a round has won and is not fined; he may be said to be Well-Endowed. Every other player in that round is fined according to the Shortcoming between his card and the Well-Endowed player's. To announce a round, a nominated player calls out "Three ... two ... one ... BID!". Ot the instant of the "B" in "BID!", all players with their cards touching their foreheads (still face down, or rather face-to-face) have joined that round. They show their cards, and the fines are allocated and drunk in a more or less self-policing way.

The fines already mentioned (and quantified below) make it undesirable to join a round and not win it. Why then should you ever join the first few rounds? Why not just wait until all the high cards have gone, so that you are definitely Well-Endowed? The reason is this: if there is a round in which the Well-Endowed player's card is lower than yours, you will be said to be Softly Spoken and you will be fined more heavily than players who Expose their Shortcomings. So, there's a balance between Exposing earlier than the ideal round (and revealing a Shortcoming) and not Exposing until it's too late (and being Softly Spoken, also known as Staying In The Closet). If you skilfully wait until the ideal round, then you are said to have demonstrated Anal Retention, which is apparently desirable.

The fining system now described is compatible with standard playing cards and sturdy constitutions. Fines are measured in Pencils. (A Pencil, as you probably know, is half a Finger, which is one eighth of a pint of beer.) The fine for a Shortcoming is (1 + denominator difference); for example, if you Expose an Eight but the highest Exposed card is a Ten, your denominator difference is (10-8) and your fine is 3. The fine for being Softly Spoken is (1 + 2 × denominator difference); for example, if you fail to Expose a Ten when the highest Exposed card is an Eight, your fine is 5. If you are Softly Spoken, it is in your best interest to admit it, because you will not be allowed to profit from concealing it. The players who have joined the roud or are Softly Spoken do not participate in subsequent rounds. If only one player remains, he shows his card (to demonstrate that he hasn't been Softly Spoken) and then drinks a single fine for being Asexual; the game is over.

It may happen that no-one joins a round. In this case (known as Mass Buggery), only the player with the lowest card escapes; all other remaining players are fined according to the formula of (1 + denominator difference), and the game ends. If you were holding a King, and someone else the Six of Diamonds, you are subject to a half-pint fine. This is (arguably) bad. However, if that player with the Six were the only player to join a round, then you would be subject to the higher Soft-Speaking fines - in this case, a short head away from a pint. He would have shafted everyone; he would be a Stud. This is a popular ambition, but a would-be Stud runs the risk of Exposing a significant Shortcoming if someone else joins the round.

The player announcing the round should not vary the pace of calling, and should be particularly careful not to hesitate before "BID!". To join a round, your card must be toughing your forehead at the instant of "B". To clearly not join, your card must be touching the table (or your knee if no table is to hand). To be anywhere in between is to be Unsure of One's Orientation; you are given a single fine, and you have not joined the round. This calls for a careful judgement, preferably agreed among the other players. It can be important to see who else is Exposing himself, so it is forbidden to "cabbage" (i.e., to move an empty hand in semblance of Exposure). It is perfectly acceptable to change your orientation during the countdown, though. The face-down cards that are still in the game should remain visible (so that it is clear how many there are); cards that have been used should be put in a central face-up pile. To give players a chance to wake up and check their cards, the announcer may count down from "Five" on the first round of a game.

Game should follow game as quickly as possible, so anyone can deal. The cards don't have to be shuffled too often (except that all the Aces and Kings eventually bunch together). The dealer and the announcer shouldn't be fined for venial mistakes, except when the announcer hesitates for his own good. As with many drinking games, a player should make an effort to drink the fines from one game before the next game's fine arrives. If this is completely impractical, he should announce this and sit out for the minimum period to catch up. However, no-one should drink so much that they do themselves permanent physical or spiritual harm. I should know.

Note that in recent times, it is normal for cards played with to be discarded separately from cards which have yet to be played, and to continue playing until the pack is exhausted before shuffling. This offers some opportunity for the competent to count cards.

Now that Famous Winker cards are available, this variation should also be documented: Rather than playing on the card suit and rank, the categories of the cards are alternated in order for each game, with the card of highest number in that category winning. Fines are a pencil for every difference of ten in that category, rounded up, and doubled for being softly spoken. Before showing a card (which should be done in turn), it is traditional to attempt to impersonate the person on the card (or at least the picture on the card, or otherwise give an identifying phrase), and to give others the chance to guess the person. Jokers are in, and the player of a joker should impersonate another card, before drawing another card from the top of the deck; the drawn card is treated as the player's card, and must in turn be impersonated, with the player drinking any fine necessary if that card was misplayed.

Buckets of shite

BoS (or just "buckets") is played with a shortened deck, with no jesters and four cards more than the number the players require (although an eight card drip sac has been known to work with a sufficiently large number of players). Fives are included in the shortened deck - hence with five players the fives, aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens will be in play. The game is best played with a small number of people (4-8).

Each player is dealt four cards, and the remaining cards in the deck in play are placed in the centre of the playing area as a target (some variations have no target). All drinks are best cleared from the playing area.

The dealer then calls "" (with an even tempo, and about two seconds spent over the whole, although the rate tends to increase as time passes in a given hand), and at the moment of "pass", each player must pass one card to the next player in the direction of the deal. If at any point, including at the start, a player has a winning hand, he may put his hand on the target (if present - just on the table if not). The other players must then place their hands on top of the lowest player, and the last player to put his hand on the pile has to drink a double fine (i.e. two fingers, traditionally). The winning player then deals the next hand.

A "winning hand" is either four cards of the same numerical value, or a straight flush (cards of consecutive increasing value in the same suit). Bluffing is allowed - some (not all) variants allow hitting the target so long as you're not pinned their by the other players, and if there is a target then hitting the table beside the target is also reasonable. However, being the player with his hand on the target and not having a winning hand (known as "revoking") will invoke a half pint fine.

Fives are a complication. If a player wins with four fives, all the other players must drink a pint fine (some variants are more lenient). However, each five you have in your hand at the time a hand finishes is worth a fine. An optional rule is that three fives in a player's hand requires that player to buy a round of whisky, although a pint (or even half pint) fine is sometimes considered a valid substitution. Hence fives often get passed on, and four fives are relatively rare.

Royal and Ancient

Royal and Ancient involves dealing four cards to everybody. After seeing their cards, there is a vote for whether tøppen, Yogi's whist or BoS is played with that hand: thumbs up for yo(gi's), thumbs down for (buckets of) shite, across for tøppen. Fines are doubled if you lose a game you voted for. If the dealing was incorrect for the game voted in, the dealer drinks a fine. Any jokers should be exchanged for real cards before play starts if the elected game is tøppen or BoS. "Ancient and modern" adds Glengariff as an option, chosen by pointing thumbs outwards.

Glengariff 99

Ninety-nine is played with a full deck, including as many jokers as are available. Each player is dealt four cards, and the remaining cards are placed in a central pile, face down, except for the topmost remaining card with is turned face up. This card acts as if it had been played by the dealer. The player next to the dealer in the direction of deal is first to play (unless the turned-up card is a reverse - see below).

The aim of the game is to continue being able to play. If at any point a player cannot play, that player's cards are placed face down on the table, and a fine must be imbibed proportional to the number of players who are still in the game.

During play, a total is kept (verbally, by the player who has just changed it in each case). Each card played may affect this total. The total can never exceed 99, so a player may not play a card which would cause the total to exceed this figure - and as mentioned above, a player who cannot play goes out. The total is started at zero, but the turn-up card affects it.

When playing, a player puts the card played face-up on top of the pile of played cards (or the turn-up card in the case of the first player), and the current total is spoken. That player may then pick up a replacement card off the unplayed pile, unless precluded by the rules below. When the pile of unplayed cards becomes empty, the top card of the played cards is retained as if it was the turn-up card, and the remaining played pile is turned over to form a new source pile. The pack is not shuffled in doing so, although it should be shuffled thoroughly between games. After each game, deal revolves in the direction of dealing.

The effect of each card is as follows:

Adds one or fourteen to the total, at the player's discretion
Adds two to the total
Adds three to the total
Does not affect the total, but reverses the direction of play
Adds five to the total, and skips the next player
Adds six to the total
Adds seven to the total, and reverses the direction of play
Adds eight to the total
Makes the total 99
Adds or subtracts ten from the total, at the player's discretion
Adds eleven to the total
Does not affect the total, but the next player cannot pick up after playing a card. However, if the next player plays a queen, the effect is cumulative until a player who does not play a queen is reached. That player must play a number of cards (all of which count) equal to the number of consecutive queens which have been played, and may not pick up replacement cards for any of them.
Does not affect the total
Makes the total 99

This game is derived from Icelandic 99, which has identical rules except that queens, fives and sevens do not have their special effects.


CUTwC sometimes plays a variant on Pontoon (or Blackjack). In the CUTwC version, the dealer provides each player (including himself) with a card, face down. The players look at that card, put it face-down on the table, and then place a number of fingers from one to four on the card, indicating the amount they are willing to risk on whether they are likely to beat the dealer. A second card is then dealt face-down to each player, again including the dealer.

With the aim of getting a total nearer to, but not over, 21 than the dealer does, each player in turn is offered the chance to "stick" (receive no more cards), "twist" (be given a card face-up, such that everyone can see the card) or "buy" (be given a card face-down so that only the player sees the card, and increasing the bid by one) additional cards - one cannot buy once one has twisted, but one can buy and then twist. Most cards have their numerical value; face cards are worth ten, and aces are worth a choice of one or eleven.

A player who has an ace plus a ten or face card in the first two cards must demonstrate this when it is there turn by turning over their non-ace card - a pontoon beats any other hand (CUTwC does not treat three sevens as special, nor does it make a distinction between a numerical or royal pontoon). A "five card trick" (five cards less than or equal to 21) beats any other hand. If the two cards in a player's hand are identical, the player has the option to split, and be given two additional cards (this can be done repeatedly, but only with the two initial cards); the player then gets to play multiple hands, each with the initial bid placed on it.

If a player "goes bust" (has a total more than 21) he must say so immediately and return his cards to the dealer, who should place them on the bottom of the pack. One does not shuffle in Pontoon.

When each player has got to the point of sticking or going bust, the dealer gets to play. The dealer is playing against the players still present, and can make intelligent decisions (rather than applying fixed rules as in a casino). The dealer may not split. When the dealer's hand is finished, the dealer drinks for every finger bid by the players who beat him, and the players drink for every finger they bid if they lose. If there is a tie, the dealer wins. If the winning hand is a pontoon, the amount drunk by the dealer doubles. If the dealer goes bust, any player who has not also gone bust wins, and the dealer drinks their bids. For obvious reasons, the deal rotates. It is considered bad form for the person who is about to be dealer to propose a change of game.


CUTwC does play poker. In SEPTIC hold 'em, each new round must start with a raise, and two cards are placed face up in the centre before bidding continues. In Anne Austin Hold 'Em, there is a round of bidding before the first two cards are turned up, and the instigator of a new round can "check" (match the bid of a previous round, with a minimum of 1, rather than having to raise). Bids are in fifth-fingers.

More specifically, for SEPTIC hold 'em:

The Lisa Bendall Game

The Lisa Bendall game is a variation on gin rummy, useful when people are meeting to drink because it's one of the few games that works for two people:

Bugger Your Granny

A knock-out game in which each player is dealt three cards (one at a time) face down, and three cards are placed at the centre of the table (at any time), two of which must be face up. Starting to the left of the dealer, players must replace one or three of the cards in their hands with one or all of the cards in the centre of the table. The first player to knock the table after playing indicates that play will continue only until that player is reached again (so a knock is after the player's last turn of the game). In practice, the first player almost always knocks.

The player with the lowest hand in poker order is eliminated, except that, unlike SEPTIC hold-'em, a straight beats a flush, and three of a kind (obviously) beats everything; the best three of a kind is (as a special case) three threes. The eliminated player drinks for each player left in, and play continues until there is a "winner". As in SEPTIC Hold 'Em, there's pride in getting the worst hand - particularly "5 high".

Bugger a novice is similar, except that "eliminated" players stay in.

Indian Poker

A game which starts by the dealer shuffling, cutting, then showing a card to everyone. This is the death card. When everyone has had a chance to see the death card (which is not the same thing as actually having seen it), the deck is re-shuffled. A single card is then dealt to each player, face down. The dealer then says "(ladies and) gentlemen, please raise your cards" (NOT anything else), at which point each player raises his card, face out, and holds it against his forehead, without having looked at it.

There follows a round of bidding, during which players to the left of the dealer must sequentially say a number between 1 and 4, at least as high as the highest number said so far, or drop out; folding incurs a fine equal to the player's last bid, or a minimum of 1. Practically, someone says "4" almost immediately. Fines are in fingers.

When everyone has folded or agreed the same bid value, the remaining player(s) with the lowest card rank lose, and drink the bid fine. The rank of the the death card is considered lower than all other ranks. Additionally, any player with a card of the "death suit" (the suit of the death card) drinks an additional finger fine.

If a player accidentally looks at his card, he is given a second card, drinks any fine incurred by either of them, and is obliged not to drop out of the bidding process.

Red Black Higher Lower

Arguably the purest of drinking games, Red Black Higher Lower starts with the dealer exposing a card. Each turn consists of the dealer calling "three, two, one, bid". On "bid", each player may do one of five things:


The dealer then exposes the next card.

Everyone drinks a pencil for each person (including themselves) who is wrong in the same way as themselves. Note that consecutive cards of the same rank are always "wrong" (a horizontal thumb always "loses"), but may minimise fines due to the number of players "agreeing". This game normally gets through beer quickly, and is a way to empty glassses at the end of a session.


In Newmarket, all cards are dealt out to the players. The first player (left of the dealer) picks a suit, and leads a card. Other players must play the next highest card in that suit if they have it (kings high). Play stops when nobody can play; then the last player to play a card gets to choose a new lead, with the proviso that the colour of the suit chosen (red or black) must change. As each player runs out of cards, each player still in must drink a fine (similar to Dalmuti). In order to involve any tactics, a dummy hand is dealt, inserting random gaps in the sequence.

Chemin de Fer

Approximately baccarat, in chemin de fer, each player is dealt a card. There follows a round of bidding, during which players can choose to drop out. Then a second card is dealt to each player. Cards ace through nine are worth their face value; other cards are worth nothing (jokers are not in). The player whose total modulo 10 is highest (closest to 9) wins and everyone else drinks. If there is a tie, the bid carries over to be the minimum bid in the next round. There is the understanding that everyone must be excessively polite during this game, with fines incurred for otherwise normal levels of rudeness.

Card games with non-standard cards


CUTwC have been known to play The Great Dalmuti (by Wizards of the Coast), but since they're likely to be picky about copyright and the rules are on their site (as well as coming with the cards, which are not typical playing cards), I won't repeat them here. To turn it into a drinking game, however, there has to be a fining mechanism. The system used by CUTwC is that a) a fine is drunk by each player still in the game whenever anybody goes out, and b) at the end of each round, each player who fell any places must drink a number of fining units equal to the number of places fallen. The current Great Dalmuti is considered finesmaster for as long as he holds that post, and other players are encouraged to be suitably obsequious to their betters. The game is normally played on pencils, and is suitable for a number of players between five and nine.

Crunchy Beetles

CUTwC sometimes plays 6 Nimmt!, usually known either as a mis-heard "sex nymphs" or as "crunchy beetles" (because Stew thought the bull's head looks like a beetle). Players drink for each "beetle" scored, with each beetle being worth a fifth of a finger. Traditionally, cards which have been picked up are placed face up in front of the player, and turned face down as the corresponding fine has been consumed.

Cards Against Humanity

CUTwC has played Cards Against Humanity (and there are rumours of a SEPTIC version). Deal rotates, with the dealer not being handed cards in the hand in which he deals. The dealer chooses which answer is best; everyone else drinks a pencil fine.

Exploding Kittens

CUTwC has played Exploding Kittens. Play is roughly according to the normal rules, with each player who goes out drinking one finger for each player still in the game at the point he exploded.

Games using other equipment


CUTwC often plays Pass The Pigs, apparently in the belief that it's a game of skill. In this game, each player in turn sets a target score, which must be beaten by the next player. Scoring is as normal in pigs: 1 for a "sider" (both pigs on the same side), 5 for a "backer" or "trotter" (one pig on its back or feet), ten for a "snouter" (pig on its nose), 15 for a "leaning jowler" (pig leaning on its nose and ear). Other than a single sider, scores are cumulative for the two pigs, and two identical pigs quadruples the score of a single one (so a double leaning jowler scores 60 and a trotter-backer-backer-trotter-combo scores ten).

A pig which does not fall into position correctly (usually a "backsider" half way between back and side) is called a mutant, and must be re-thrown. The player must otherwise throw both pigs at once. If a pig falls on the floor (pig abuse) or the pigs support each other (making bacon) the player's total returns to zero. If the pigs land one on each side (one with a spot, one without), the player has "pigged out" and his turn ends.

A player can pass at any point where his score strictly exceeds his predecessor's. A player attempting to score more than this and failing through pigging out, pig abuse or making bacon will drink a number of pencils equal to the number of throws in his turn. A player who does not reach the target drinks by the shortfall formula: for a score difference of greater than 69, the fine is the log base 2 of the difference in fingers, rounded up. Otherwise, the fine is the difference rounded up to the next multiple of five, divided by five, plus one, divided by two - in fingers. Note that a delta of 69 is "69 is seventy is fourteen is fifteen is seven and a half" - more than a delta of 70 (seven fingers).

A player who is not successfully passed a target by a previous player has a target of five (which must be beaten, so the minimum successful score for a "pig master" is six). A score of zero is traditionally "pathos".

When the score passes a multiple of fifty, there is a (pencil's) team fine. A new high score (that must be passed) of greater than fifty is traditionally welcomed by a team sip.

There is often a random "reversage" indicator which reverses the direction of passing.

A variant called "misère pigs" requires that the player not pass until he pigs out. Making bacon or pig abuse doubles the score at the time of that throw. A player drinks for the amount in excess of the previous player, if any, that he scores, in the reverse of normal pigs.

Liar dice

CUTwC has been known to play with poker dice, in a closed container. Each player must state the number of dice (possibly zero) that he is rolling, then make a claim about the hand which is being passed. The recipient can choose to accept the dice, or dispute that the player has got the claimed hand, which is done by opening the box towards the player. A correct challenge results in the challenged player drinking and starting again; an incorrect challenge has the same consequences for the challenger.

Note that the hand in the box has to be at least as good as the claim, but not an exact match (e.g. a full house is a valid hand to claim as "a pair"). Each player must increase the bid from the previous hand, except that if five aces are accepted, the player must attempt this by rolling all five dice. Hands increase minimally - for example, "an unspecified pair" is beaten by "a pair of nines", then "a pair of tens", then "a pair of jacks" etc. up to "a pair of aces", then "an unspecified two pair". Two pairs are normally described as "value and value" (e.g. "tens and nines") and a full house is described as the value of three dice "on" the value of the pair (e.g. "jacks on queens"). A low straight or high straight may be known as "a low/high dead-end bid" because of the difficulty improving it. A hand which contains nothing (except ace-high) is known as "Hancock's brain".

There is a variant known as "honest dice" which does not use the equipment. This is as preposterous as it sounds.

Note that it is common to have pigs and dice rotating in different directions around a table (skipping any player who is mid-play when the equipment reaches him). A reversage applies to both simultaneously.